Let’s make 2021 ‘label’ free
Most of us don’t realise how often we do it, adding a ‘label’ to the description. I am a ‘Female’ entrepreneur; it is obvious – surely this is the year when I am just ‘entrepreneur’. No more labels.
I recently watched Mrs America, I was left feeling frustrated, angry and perhaps disappointed (it was so very well produced that I was completely engaged in the story of the early 1970s women’s movement in the US). It made me reflect upon the journey so many women have been on, and without their contribution we’d not be where we are now. They agitated and challenged, to gain the right to vote. To gain the right to work. To gain the right to have equal pay. They challenged and protested. They were derided by many, labelled and criticised – just to be legally recognised as equal.
There was no other way society could deal with them, without sticking a label on them.
But because of those who went before us, our future is brighter. For my own children, and the next generation, we celebrate those courageous women on this day – International Women’s Day.
But what does International Women’s Day mean to me? And if we’re giving up labels, why do we celebrate it?
In my opinion, it is to honour the people who enabled (and enacted) equality. To celebrate the disruptors. The people who, regardless of gender, looked at the status quo and challenged it, who strived for inclusion and diversity.
For those who paved the path and made difficult choices so that we could be in a position where we CAN lose those gender labels. It’s that which we celebrate. It’s for the pioneers who put equality and inclusion on the table and pushed relentlessly to make it an even playing field, where we can all stand together.
As they have given us the privilege of choice in Australia. Woman, man, LGBTQIA+ are able to make the choices that are right uniquely for themselves. Whether that be vying to be a CEO, being an entrepreneur or a homemaker. Equality to me means the right to choose one’s path. We are lucky here in Australia – this is not the case in so many countries around the world.
I recently spoke at a Careers and Leadership Forum facilitated by ‘The Australian’, focused on helping young women consider their educational pursuits, how to identify and follow their passions. I broadcast from my kitchen (my special place), surrounded by my artwork. As I love to cook, and I love to paint. Both are true passions. I wanted them to see me not just as an entrepreneur – but as a person with a fully rounded family life too.
And the wonderful thing I was able to share with these school age women who attended the webinar, was that they have choice. Choice in what they want to pursue, and in what they want their life’s purpose to be. They also have choice over the words they use which I share at the end of the presentation.
So, in 2021, it’s time to do away with the ‘labels’. To challenge ourselves to not reinforce stereotypes, and to seek out positivity.
Also published on Medium.